ISA South was saddened to hear of the passing of Jim Winkates this past summer. So many in our region looked up to Jim, and we continue to honor and memorialize him in the region’s Jim Winkates Student Paper Awards. Several of us who knew him well have shared memories of our interactions with him and his lasting impact on our region in the paragraphs below.
"I had the distinct pleasure of knowing Jim Winkates through ISA-South. Even though I taught in Birmingham and he taught in Montgomery, Alabama, our paths did not cross until those two, actually back then it was three, days of stimulating discussions, mentoring and collegiality. ISA-South is exactly what its members make it to be, and it has been the greatest professional launch pad, for me at least, and so much more thanks to Jim.
I recall he and I spent a dinner, just the two of us, on one of those crisp Saturday nights in October, talking about how to make ends meet. I was a young professor at the time, trying to balance family wants, professional responsibilities and financial obligations. He was unequivocal in his response: do what it takes for family, the rest will come. It was good advice that I took to heart. It kept me focused on what’s important, and the rest did come. He was a scholar, a colleague and a mentor.
We all thank you for giving so much and taking so little in return, Jim. You taught us that, apart from scholarship, professionalism and inclusiveness are important, nay necessary, parts of academic life. The entire ISA-South is so much richer because of you."
Professor, Rhodes College
"I remember Jim Winkates so well, especially the regional conference he organized and hosted at the Air War College.
Jim was a steadfast presence in ISA-South. His intellect, integrity and wit were recognized and admired. He was an inspiring leader, advocating for robust regional organizations within ISA as well as strong graduate and undergraduate education in international and comparative politics.
I shall miss him. Rest in peace, Jim."
Professor Emerita, University of South Florida
"It was with profound sadness that I learned of the recent death of my colleague and friend, Jim Winkates. Jim was an astute analyst, productive scholar, worthy role model and perhaps most notably, a true gentleman. My encounters with Jim centered around ISA-South. When I first engaged with the organization, Jim was already entrenched as one of the ‘regulars’ who gave much of themselves to preserve its rich legacy and to move it forward. That included embracing new participants, both professionally and personally.
Early on, I was given a slot on the annual roundtable addressing critical U.S. foreign policy issues. Jim was one of the mainstays. From the outset, he schooled me on the techniques necessary to interface effectively with other members of this often-raucous group chaired by one of ISA-South’s more colorful characters, the late Joe Scolnick. I quickly learned it was advisable to have pen in hand when Jim presented, as he provided important insights into the complexities confronting policymakers. When the task of organizing this session fell to me years later, Jim was usually the first one I contacted and he always said yes, frequently enticing colleagues from the Air War College to join the fray.
Jim was also among those who pushed ISA-South to designate the professional socialization of graduate students as one of its key objectives. He pushed to include them on the program and, along with some others, attended to the inclusion of a special session each year devoted to some aspect of professional development. In recognition of his efforts along these lines, the annual outstanding graduate student paper award was named in his honor.
But it was Jim’s overall demeanor and his sense of inclusiveness and community that made him so special. ISA-South participants have long enjoyed one another’s company. Our core group ate and drank together at countless establishments across the region over the years, but always invited other attendees to join our adventures. Jim took it upon himself to welcome newcomers and could be frequently seen deeply engrossed in conversation with younger faculty and graduate students. This was an important part of his calling to foster their sense of belonging. Rest in peace, Jim. Mission accomplished!"
Harry I. Chernotsky
Professor Emeritus, UNC Charlotte
"Jim Winkates was a mentor, a colleague, and a friend. I first met him at my first ISA-South Conference in Atlanta more than 20 years ago. Jim always made it a point to meet, talk to, and get to know graduate students and new members. As he did with other new members, Jim made me feel welcome and encouraged me to become an active member of ISA-South. His outreach to new members was the reason why, upon his retirement, the ISA-South Graduate student paper award was named for him.
Jim taught courses on terrorism at the Air War College for many years, thus our research interests overlapped. It was encouraging to see a senior scholar and an expert on the topic take an interest in me and my ideas. We had many discussions in which he challenged me to further refine and more clearly articulate my arguments. He always served as an important sounding board for new ideas. Over the years Jim and I exchanged syllabi and course materials for terrorism courses, allowing us both to refine our courses and keep up with current topics and research.
He'll be missed."
Professor, Randolph Macon College